Is it sl^t day in the office?
Seven words from my husband shocked me to the core and ended my marriage.
When I was a little girl I believed in fairy tales. I loved princesses and loved the notion that prince charming would sweep me off my feet one day. I know that seems naïve but I was always a dreamer and always believed in the idea of great and lasting love. I always saw the best in people and looked on and helped others to see the bright and hopeful side of life. I am an empath to the core.
So when Prince Charming (or so I thought), did indeed arrive, I was ready to rise to that moment and be swept up in the fairy tale. I lavished the attention, the gifts, the praise, and the adornment. The pedestal felt like a very nice place to be.
It took me a long time to realize that sweeping me off my feet was more like sweeping my feet from under me.
I married a narcissist.
It was the fairytale in reverse. One where I started as a Princess and ever so gradually became Cinderella. Outwardly I was a flourishing, successful, and strong woman, inwardly I was controlled, bound by rules, and a failure.
It happened ever so subtly that my decisions no longer felt like they were my own, that they became more like involuntary actions that avoided a consequence or a punishment. Not doing the things I wanted to do (big or small), not being able to friend or spend time with the people I wanted to, having to report back the smallest amount of money spent, or being careful of what clothes I chose to wear and when. Just some examples.
It took a long time for me to see what the viewers of my life saw (so common of the hero in the plot). Even my closest friends were slowly distanced rather than outspoken because ‘she seems happy’. And I was, for a long time. Happy and ignorant of the path that was unfolding.
I was very sick when we met. I needed to be taken care of. And as an empath, together those things made me the perfect prey. He fed off my weakness and my good nature.
Over the years, as my health got better and my career advanced, as the fog of my health condition and situation started to lift, I started to crave a social life again, and his issues with power and control started to become more noticeable (to me at last anyway). I’m a pretty easy-going girl. Most things I could just let go of and not cause a fuss, it suited my gentle nature to just focus on the good in life and him (especially after such a big health journey). But it was when we had kids, that things really started to turn for the worse.
I was no longer his. I had babies to take care of that took up all of my time, attention, and even my physical appearance. What should have been the high of my life, became the lowest and it was truly my Cinderella moment. Not the end of the fairytale, but the nightmarish part at the beginning. Where my home felt like more of a prison. The difference for me was I was meant to keep it all together and perfect and act like his Princess in it. My life deteriorated rapidly as he tried to hold onto control of me and even worse, the issues became problematic with the boys…. babies and toddlers can’t be controlled either.
I chose to wear skinny leather look jeans for a casual day at work that day. They looked good. They felt good. He didn’t like it. Of course, much more culminated in the end of our marriage, but in these seven words, said in front of two beautiful and innocent young boys, the scene could not be unseen.
There are many stories and incidences I could recount, but this one stands out as a turning point for me. I looked at my husband that day and saw more than just his flaws, I saw a different person entirely, somewhat of a monster. Maybe it had crept up on him the way it had crept up on me, although I can look back on certain events and triggers and see a demise. Through many incidences of anger, abuse, and intolerable behaviour towards my kids and me, my marriage was already over in so many ways. This was the point that letting it go no longer felt like I was to blame. My boys would never grow up thinking that is ok. Anyone who has survived narcissistic abuse knows what a healing moment that is.
This is the just start of my story. I am a survivor writing about my experience of narcissistic abuse. I hope that my journey can provide comfort, healing, and hope to those who are surviving too.